Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The boy blunder strikes again


I've just enjoyed the wonderful sound of Charlie Cameron tripping over his own feet on the radio.

New readers start here: Charlie was being interviewed on LBC about the plans by UKIP to acquire information about the Tories' secret donors lenders under the good ol' Freedom of Information Act (or, more properly, Freedom of Information We Choose to Allow You to See Act). Concerned to dismiss this irritation and deflect attention from this issue, Cameron described UKIP as a fringe party, as you do: "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists".

It was the last remark that got him into trouble. Asked to clarify his accusation of racism, Cameron's well-oiled machine hit a stone in the road and started to fall apart. You could almost hear him thinking, "oh, fuck". He spluttered his way through to the end (hear it via here), but it was possibly the most unconvincing performance he has yet given in the public arena. One was reminded of Iain Duncan-Smith answering a question on the Today programme by laughing repeatedly.

Poor Charlie; the honeymoon really is over. Only two polls out of eight in the last month put the Tories ahead (see UK Polling Report for details). At a time when Labour is in disarray, when the concealed cracks at the top of the government are starting to peek through the wallpaper, his party should be revelling in a massive - or at least consistent - poll lead. His inexperience is showing through; glib and charming in his leadership campaign, he suddenly looks like a sixth-former who desperately wants to be a prefect if only that nasty Mr Blair didn't have the headmaster's ear.

Trouble is, on this occasion it was a fairly good call. A quick glance at UKIP's website (don't make me link to it) includes such enlightened and savoury statements as these:

  • "[Muslims] have a mission to take us back to the Dark Ages"

  • "Everyone should have the right to say that other people‚Äôs religious beliefs are mumbo-jumbo. That was acceptable when offended Christians would forgive and pray for the soul of the blasphemer. Apparently it is not, now that an offended Muslim might threaten to kill them."

  • "The United Kingdom lost its independence and identity when a referendum on trade turned out to be a political take-over. Uninvited foreign regulations poured over the border attempting to change traditions and eliminate the country."

  • "All those entering Britain with the intention of staying [should] be subject to health checks for certain communicable diseases."

  • "UKIP will repeal the 1999 Human Rights Act [and require] the reinterpretation of parts of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees."

Not actually racist, as such, but you can see where Charlie was coming from. [EDIT: More precise info at UKIPwatch (via Clive).]

Never mind, as Gary has observed, it's nice to watch the Right falling out with each other. If only there were a credible third option to vote for...


Blogger Philip said...

Iain Duncan Smith laughed? And repeatedly, to boot? I can't even conceive of it. Must have been before he was Tory leader or after he was heaved-hoed and settled down to write his Novel.

5:58 pm  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Philip, you had to be there.

8:59 pm  

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